Forum Spin Doctor
RALPH D. RUSSO
Ohio State received all 65 first-place votes in The Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday to become the first unanimous No. 1 during the regular season in three years.
The last team to sweep the media panel voting was Oklahoma on Nov. 30, 2003, the week before the Sooners lost the Big 12 championship game to Kansas State.
The Buckeyes have been top-ranked all season, and for the fourth straight week their Big Ten rival, Michigan, was No. 2.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines had closer-than-expected wins Saturday. Ohio State won 17-10 at Illinois and Michigan held off Ball State 34-26.
Louisville received its best ranking, moving up two spots to No. 3 after its 44-34 victory over West Virginia on Thursday. The Mountaineers had been No. 3, but their first loss of the season dropped them seven spots to No. 10.
No. 4 Texas was just three points behind unbeaten Louisville.
The Cardinals were ranked as high as No. 2 by five voters and as low as ninth by Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star.
"After watching the West Virginia-Louisville game Thursday night I was shocked at how poorly the defenses played," Whitlock said in an e-mail to the AP on Sunday. "I don't think either one of those teams would survive against the best teams in the SEC. So there are four SEC teams that I think are better than Louisville. I also think Ohio State, Texas, USC and Michigan are better than Louisville."
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman had Louisville No. 2 and said the Cardinals deserve credit for having one of the nation's best offenses.
"This has got to be one of the most complex voting situations I've seen because people don't know what to make of the Big East," he said. "Style points mean everything this time of year. When I see Michigan struggle at home against Ball State and Louisville smash third-ranked West Virginia, I think you have to give them credit for that."
No. 5 was Auburn and Florida was sixth, the Southeastern Conference rivals separated by six points.
Southern California was No. 7, right in front of Pac-10 rival California.
Notre Dame and West Virginia finished off the top 10.
Three SEC teams start the second 10, with Arkansas, LSU and Tennessee. The Tigers beat the Volunteers 28-24 on Saturday and the Razorbacks host Tennessee this week.
Unbeaten Boise State was No. 14 and unbeaten Rutgers was 15th. The Scarlet Knights get a chance to make a big leap in the ranking on Thursday night when they host Louisville.
"If Louisville beats Rutgers by two touchdowns, I might reconsider my position," Whitlock said.
No. 16 was Wisconsin, followed by Oklahoma and three Atlantic Coast Conference teams - Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Oregon is No. 21 with Boston College, Maryland, Texas A&M and BYU rounding out the Top 25.
Maryland and BYU were in the rankings for the first time this season. The Terps defeated Clemson 13-12 on a last-second field goal to move into the rankings for the first time since the middle of the 2003 season. The loss knocked Clemson out of the rankings for the second time this season.
Washington State also dropped out of the rankings after being in for just one week. The Cougars lost 27-17 at home to Arizona.